I was delighted and honoured to be invited to address the Croydon Tamil Sangam event to mark Thai Pongol. It was great to be able to send Croydon’s Tamil community best wishes for a peaceful and happy Pongol.
I was pleased to be there because it gave me an opportunity to acknowledge publicly the enormous contribution Tamils have made to life here in Croydon and in Britain more widely.
That contribution is made in so many different ways:
Many Tamils work hard running small businesses that are a vital part of our local economy right across the borough;
Tamils play many varied roles in the public services that we all rely on, including our NHS and social care sector;
And Tamils are increasingly playing an important role in civic and political life. I was pleased to acknowledge the role of Tamil heritage councillors including Chrishni Reshekaron, Ellily Ponnuthurai and Appu Srinivasan – who are all current Croydon councillors.
I also took the opportunity to acknowledge the many years of dedicated public service provided by the late Mike Selva, who we sadly lost last year. What a great councillor he was for Broad Green ward. He is much missed.
For close to a decade now I’ve been privileged to have developed a strong relationship with the Croydon Tamil Sangam. I was delighted to have helped secure funding to renovate part of their community building in Thornton Heath and to then be part of their work handing out food parcels to the needy during Covid-19.
But as the Leader of Croydon’s Labour councillors I spoke not only on my own behalf but on behalf of all 34 Labour councillors in Croydon.
We [Labour] welcome Tamil Heritage Month and hope to see this move from a statement to a comprehensive programme of events and activity that shares the rich cultural contribution made by Croydon’s Tamil community.